Belarusian schools urged to remove British flags from foreign language classroom

Брытанскія сцяжкі / Британские флажки / Еўрарадыё

British flags / Euroradio

Ahead of a new school year, schools in Belarus are reportdly ordered to remove British flags, other symbols and visual aids associated with this country from English classrooms. According to Zerkalo, such reports come from teachers in Minsk and Brest.

One of the Minsk teachers said: "Last week, a colleague who teaches English came back from vacation. The first order she received from the administration was to remove the symbols from the foreign language classroom. The order was verbal. As far as we understood, it was about British flags. They said that we should put Belarusian flags or landscapes of our country on the rack above them. They explained that the symbols were not approved by the curriculum. Neither I nor my colleague know exactly what it means."

At the same time, some teachers say that they did not receive such orders.

The head of one of the educational institutions explains that there's an instruction to avoid British state symbols, references to officials, British monarchs, US presidents, etc. "The message should be as follows: English and German are the languages of international communication, not Big Ben or the relationship with the British flag," he says.

Education officials insist that no such orders have been given. The education department of Minsk's Pieršamajski district says: "You should ask the English teacher who gave you such information. I think there should be understanding at the level of the teacher who gave you this information. I know that there was not only an order, but a recommendation to add something Belarusian even in English classes. After all, if you come to Great Britain, unfortunately, you won't see the Belarusian flag there."

An employee of Brest's Leninski District Administration's education department adds that the Ministry of Education held a "board session or a meeting" where the neutral appearance of the stands was emphasized. However, the official did not see any regulatory documents on the subject.

"I know that when the minister visited one of the schools, there was a stand with the image of flags and a remark was made," she added.

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